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Sigma 800mm f5.6 EX Apo HSM

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Reviews Views Date of last review
6 74618 Nov 29, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $4,873.60
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.20
9.40
8.8
800f5_6EX_lg_1_


Specifications:
Sigma's APO 800mm f5.6 EX is one of the EX Series lenses. It is an Apochromatic ultra-telephoto lens with a fast F5.6 maximum aperture, and incorporates two Extraordinary Low Dispersion glass elements (Abbe number 90.3), to reduce chromatic aberration to minimum limit. It also incorporates internal focusing which enables responsive and fast auto focus speed. The AF drive for Sigma SA, Canon and Nikon S.L.R. cameras features the ultra-quiet Hyper Sonic Motor (H.S.M.). This new lens also incorporates a rotary filter holder in the rear part of the lens barrel, which enables the use of a polarizing filter. Sigma's dedicated APO EX Tele Converter 1.4x MF and 2x MF can be used with this lens. The lens materials used in this new lens are lead and arsenic free ecological glass.


 


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miataroy
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Registered: Nov 8, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 271
Review Date: Nov 29, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp! Great Price Fit and Finish
Cons:
No IS but I DID know this going in

This is my second copy of this lens... yea.. second.. Unfortunate fall took my last one.. as with the first lens this lens will render super images of great color and sharpness.. this like all long lenses is realized by employing good telephoto technique. A sturdy tripod or a good Bean Bag will do the trick.. Sigma really got it right with their long telephotos both the 800 5.6 and 300-800mm 5.6 are great hitters.

Nov 29, 2011
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KKFung
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Registered: Dec 19, 2008
Location: China
Posts: 902
Review Date: Jan 10, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,368.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp image, fast AF
Cons:
too long MFD

Excellent PQ (sharp and nice boken), fast and accurate AF impress me when first time trying this lens after bought it recently.

I concern this lens have no stablizer before but now I found it is not an issue because I only use it for birding on a tripod

The only thing I found not good enough is the MFD, 7 meters sometimes force me need to step back when shooting small forest bird in close distance.

Excellent money / performance rating!!


Jan 10, 2011
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HerbChong
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Registered: Dec 1, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 7276
Review Date: Jul 12, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,000.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: light for its length, inexpensive for its length
Cons:
not as sharp as manufacturer's primes

i bought a used version of the non-DG version of this lens and have been shooting birds and wildlife with it. before this, i was using a Nikkor 300/4 AF-S with Nikkor TC-14E II and TC-17E II extenders.

the 300/4 is an exceptionally sharp lens and is considerably ahead of the 800/5.6 in sharpness. however, with careful post processing with a good sharpening filter, it's possible to come close, certainly good enough for high quality 8x10 prints nearly indistinguishable from shots taken with the 300/4. at 11x14, there is a larger difference, but after post-processing, the results from the 800/5.6 are more than acceptable.

the 800/5.6 isn't as contrasty as my other Nikkor lenses. post processing can remove most of the difference, but images taken with it appear slightly flat compared to ones from my other lenses. this can be seen in side-by-side comparisons, but otherwise isn't noticeable.

the DOF on the 800/5.6 is extremely thin. even at 50 or 80 feet, a duck facing sideways will be entirely in focus, but a duck facing the camera will have at least one part of the body noticeably out of focus. larger birds can be worse.

AF speed is quite good on a Nikon D2-series body. it is able to keep up with larger flying birds at a distance and smaller birds that flit from branch to branch. using the focus limiter helps if the shooting range doesn't change much. it's not as fast as the 300/4 with the 1.4 extender attached, but the difference is small.

i have tried using a Kenko Pro 300 1.4 DG extender with the 800/5.6 and AF is inconsistent to non-existent even in very bright conditions. it's best to manual focus using an extender. the resulting 1120mm/8 lens doesn't deliver especially sharp results. it is better than just cropping and enlarging by 1.4X when printing, but not by much. the extra magnification also magnifies vibration blur.

the lens, like all Sigma lenses i have owned, has strange bokeh. it's not as obvious or as objectionable as i have seen in other Sigma lenses, but it is not a smooth as Nikkor or Pentax lenses that i own. the very limited DOF helps because if the bird is in the air or on a branch, the background is completely blurred. it's only when objects are near to the plane of focus that the bad bokeh shows up most.

at just over 10lb, the 800/5.6 is fairly light as far as ultra long telephoto lenses go, but even so, you will need a very sturdy support. i use a Wimberley head on a Gitzo 1325 and it is about as light as i recommend going. a 1548 would not be out of place supporting this lens.

the Sigma 800/5.6 APO EX HSM represents a good value in a super telephoto but at a noticeable, although acceptable, compromise in quality. much of this can be made up by careful post processing, but not all. it offers a good alternative to the manufacturer's offerings where cost is extremely important. it's the only AF 800/5.6 on the market and that counts for something.


Jul 12, 2006
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raceroy
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Registered: Jul 21, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 54
Review Date: Apr 5, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $3,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Size, Mechanical Build Quality, Image Quality, Fills a focal length hole in the Canon EF lens list
Cons:
Internal finish could be better

This review will be a simple one.. the other reviews have covered most issues well. This lens is sharp and as long as you employ good technique you will realize it's potential.. I have not been impressed with it's performance with Converters .. I have tried the Canon 1.4II the Canon 2X II and the Sigma APO 2X with mixed/poor results.. The lens begs for a stable platform.. I have been using a Gtizo 325 and a Wimberley with great success... Colors good, contrast good, AF great for getting you close and then manual to tweak... and with a lens of this length, tweak is something you have to do.. as depth of focus is THIN .. but back grounds creamy smooth... and after all, that is what I bought it for!! This is the EX HSM model and I am told that the DG model has addressed my only beef with this lens .. the internal finish.. How does this compare to my 500 F4 IS? Well I will say this.. I do miss the IS !!!!! Big time... but extra reach without the degradation of an extender WOW... money well spent!!

Apr 5, 2006
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TimMunsey
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Registered: Sep 6, 2004
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 647
Review Date: Apr 7, 2005 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, cheap, light for size.
Cons:

To see for yourself how good this lens is have a look on my website in the 2004 section I've indicated which lens was in use. www.wildphotolife.co.uk
Sadly sigma are no longer making this prime, and now only produce the 300-800mm, so this review is only of use to those looking for second hand ones.
It's a big beast but as I've said its light for its focal length, at 4.74Kg its lighter than the 600mm canon and 600mm nikon. So a tripod is needed, but I have shot many flight shots handheld successfully, also have taken shots at low speeds balanced on walls and fence posts. It's just a matter of technique. With extension tubes its a cool, if somewhat excentric, macro lens. The bokeh is excellent.
I have sharp images with a 1.4 teleconvertor, I don't have a 2x so haven't tried that.
It's a bargain!!

Tim Munsey


Apr 7, 2005
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Location: United Kingdom
Review Date: Sep 19, 2004 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,000.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros:
Cons:

Well I went out and bought this lens from Norman Camera, as he was willing to let me try it for 30 days. By the end of the first week of shooting Bald Eagles I sent some shots to him and said this was a keeper. For an F5.6 this lens appears very bright and speeds at F8 on a fair day are good.
There is a nice test of this lens if any one is interested at http://www.photoshot.com/articles/product_reviews/800_by_800.htm
http://www.loubuscher.com/images/RWEagle1096_1A-9.75-X-6.75.jpg
http://www.loubuscher.com/images/RW-Eagle-1092.jpg
These last two are from my web and shot with the 800 at about 400 feet. If you have a need for a long lens and don't want to mortgage your home to pay for it, this is the lens. You must have a steady tripod, I am using a wooden surveyors tripod with a Wimberley head. I have used it on both Fuji S1 and S2 and now on the Nikon D70 and for eagles a range of 400 to 600 feet is quite in the game.
A bit on the heavy side so I try to keep it in a reasonable distance from my truck. It comes with a very nice hard case and they have left enough room in the case to leave a camera on the lens.
I choose the fixed focal length over the 300 to 800 zoom, as my preference is more to a single focal length lens, as I believe there is a little better quality from a fixed one.
The use of extenders left me a little cold. I had a lot of trouble with manual focus at 1600mm (no digital factor counted) and to this day I have not had a good print from this combo. Talks with Sigma were to no avail as they placed the fault at movement of shutter and wind. I even sent pictures of the equipment set up on my wooden surveyors tripod and reminded them of the equipment that these tripods have to hold and hold steady. The 1.4 was a little better and I do get some good shots with it. I no longer use any extenders as the lens by itself gives the best quality and a reach of sufficient distance.
The biggest drawback of this Lenís is the value. It has a very limited use area therefore the resale value is not the greatest. After a $6000.00 investment it will be hard to swallow what you can get in return for this lens


Sep 19, 2004
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Sigma 800mm f5.6 EX Apo HSM

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
6 74618 Nov 29, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
100% of reviewers $4,873.60
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.20
9.40
8.8
800f5_6EX_lg_1_